The free 10 minute re-boot for your body, mind and soul.
The power of pranayama
It is shocking how little we pay attention to it.
I mean, it costs nothing, it can be applied at any time and it requires absolutely no special training. Yet its benefits are extra energy, mental clarity, lower blood pressure, self composure, patience and better moods.
Think you could use some of that? I’m guessing yes. Especially if you are going for gold in the ‘ambitious breadwinner’ and ‘conscientious parent’ categories — all of the time!
At the end of a hard day at the office and the physical tussle of a long commute home, how do you feel physically and mentally?
How much energy do you have left in the tank?
If you are like me, your body is exhausted and your mind is fried.
The corporate warrior is home! And now it’s time for your real job: to be the wise, inspiring, patient, empathetic compassionate parent and spouse.
But …unfriendly bills greet you at the doorstep with large red numbers.
…your exasperated better-half hands you a screaming six year old.
…a frustrated teenager demands help with her trigonometry homework, immediately.
…colleagues from Timbuktu start to email you urgently. Then they call.
…the neighbor you don’t like rings the doorbell because he’s got nothing better to do.
…and you hear the sump pump broke — again!
Working on empty, how’s that been for you?
Imagine how it would be if there was a quick, simple, powerful and free tool that could replenish your mind and body before you arrived home every night.
Something that resets you mentally and emotionally, helping you to be the best parent, the best spouse, neighbor, home handyman, after-hours crisis manager — or anything else! .
What am I talking about? The power of pranayama.
Pranayama is made up of two sanskrit words “Prana” which means “life force” and “yama” which means to extend, control or draw out.
In English: deliberate, focused, deep breathing.
Dr. Sheila Patel at The Chopra Center explains in “Healing for Life: The Mind-Body Healing Benefits of Pranayama” that deep breathing stimulates the vagus nerve in the parasympathetic nervous system which alters the our physiology, calming the body and the mind.
Yogis in India have practiced it for centuries. The ancient Chinese have used it in Qi Gong: an holistic system of coordinated body posture and movement, breathing, and meditation used for health, spirituality, and martial arts training.
This is not a fad, and modern science has proven its power.
But how well do you breathe? Do you ever take it out of automatic and throw it into manual?
As new energy from conscious breathing connects the mind, body and soul all of a sudden its a little bit easier to surf that tsunami of stress.
How to re-boot in 10 minutes by Box Breathing
This exercise, when incorporated consistently in your life, has an unequivocal power to help our focus, concentration and sense of calm in stressful situations.
In short, it involves breathing in; holding our breath; breathing out; holding our breath; then breathing in and so on for ten little minutes.
Right now, with a straight spine to allow the air in fully, count to 8 on the inhale, hold for a 8 count, exhale for 8, hold for 8, and repeat.
Take a look at the clock. Do this for ten minutes.
If possible, try to be by yourself in a quiet spot, away from electronics, with your eyes closed.
It doesn’t matter if thoughts bounce around in your mind as you do this, just acknowledge them gently and watch them pass like drifting clouds in the sky.
Over the next few minutes the space between those clouds will open up for you especially if you commit to practicing this empowering exercise in the days, weeks and months ahead.
The result is that you start to create some new space in the mind for awareness, intuition, empathy and wisdom.
I hope that these breathing techniques allow you to be much more effective in the office, but more importantly that they become a tool you can use to become a better partner and also parent - guiding your amazing kids day in day out towards their peak life potential.
Perhaps most of all, by introducing such powerful concepts of self mastery to our children, together we can steer them towards leadership of their own mental and emotional faculties.
Then, one day, a new generation of adults can realize truly fulfilling and contented lives, are better able to understand and lead themselves, and then subsequently can do the same for others so we can live in a more peaceful civil world.